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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3101

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayLeader of The Nationals) (14:04): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for giving me this opportunity to pay tribute to one of the leaders of The Nationals in a bygone era. The former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Doug Anthony yesterday described Doug Scott as a 'thorough gentleman who was always dependable and reliable.' That sums up Doug Scott very well—solid, fair minded and decent.

Indeed, Doug Anthony's comments coincide succinctly with those made on Doug Scott's retirement from the Senate almost 27 years ago, on 31 May 1985, when the Leader of the Government in the Senate at the time, Senator John Button, said:

… Senator Scott has always been, if I might use an old-fashioned word, a gentleman in dealing with everybody in the Senate, including us, and that has been a very nice quality about his presence here.

Those words also coincide with the words of the then Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Fred Chaney, who, in the same debate described Doug Scott as 'one of the great constants' in the Senate and a man whom he had always found utterly reliable. The Nationals historian Paul Davey said, 'Doug Scott was dedicated to his party, to the processes of the parliament and to his responsibilities, particularly as a senator representing predominantly regional New South Wales.'

Even though, as the Prime Minister mentioned, he was born in Adelaide, educated at Scotch College and then received a degree in Sydney, he was a successful farmer and grazier from the Grenfell district and he was be respected throughout the state rural industries and communities; he understood the bush. During World War II he served in the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, as we have already heard. In 1948 he married Pamela McLean, and the couple have a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Diana. As his grazing interests grew so did his interest in rural politics and hence in the New South Wales Country Party, which he joined in June 1948. He served on the state executive from 1968 to 1974. He won the party's preselection to fill a casual vacancy caused by the death of Senator Colin McKellar in April 1970 and he took up that seat in August 1970. He failed to win re-election in the half-Senate election in November that year, but he was not deterred. In fact in the double dissolution election of May 1974 he stood again and remained a senator until June 1985, his retirement.

As we have already heard, he was Deputy President and Chairman of Committees in the Senate and also served as Acting President in the Senate on a number of occasions. He had a particular interest in the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. He was a member for eight years in total, including four as its chairman. He was Deputy Leader of the then National Country Party in the Senate from February 1976 to February 1980, when he was elected the party's Senate leader, a position he held until his retirement. As you heard also, he served in the Fraser-Anthony ministry for just a brief period. His comment that the Leader of the Opposition referred to about having done a lot in life but none of it for very long is something of a reflection also of his parliamentary career.

Doug Scott was a keen sportsman and particularly enjoyed cricket, golf and squash. Fred Chaney remembered encountering his prowess on the squash court when he was, to use his words, 'absolutely whipped' by a man 20 years his senior who at the time was suffering from a very bad hip.

Doug Scott's life came to an end at the Jemalong Residential Village at Forbes after almost 92 years. Douglas Scott should be remembered as a true gentleman of this parliament. While it was a different era, he was certainly a fine example to us all.

Question agreed to, honourable members standing in their places.

The SPEAKER: I thank the House.